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Will a Workers’ Compensation Settlement Pay Me for My Pain & Suffering?

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Archive: Mar 2019

Will a Workers’ Compensation Settlement Pay Me for My Pain & Suffering?

The California workers’ compensation system gives injured employees a way to obtain financial benefits to cover their medical bills and lost wages without needing to go to trial or prove anyone else’s fault. Workers’ comp provides coverage for employment-related injuries and illnesses, no matter who was at fault for the incident.

Workers’ compensation may be the easiest route to take if you have an on-the-job injury, but is it what is best for your financial future?

To discuss your specific case, speak to an Orange County workers compensation lawyer.

Benefits Available Through Workers’ Compensation

All employers in California must carry workers’ compensation insurance. This insurance protects both employees and employers. It provides injured employees with financial relief when they suffer job-related injuries, while it protects employers from liability for injury accidents. A successful workers’ comp claim will provide a certain set of benefits to you as an injured employee, regardless of fault.

  • Past and future medical expenses. You will receive full payment for all your medical bills relating to your injury or illness. This can include doctor’s appointments, mileage, scans and tests, prescriptions, medical devices, surgeries, and more.
  • Disability costs. If the workplace accident gave you a temporary or permanent injury, workers’ comp can give you compensation for your future costs relating to the disability, including replacement income and costs for retraining according to your new limitations.
  • Two-thirds lost wages. Workers’ compensation can reimburse injured workers in California for two-thirds of their average weekly gross wages, up to a maximum. These benefits are not subject to taxation.
  • Wrongful death damages. If you lost a loved one in a work-related injury, you may receive death benefits from the employer’s workers’ compensation insurance company. This can include lost wages, lost inheritance, and reasonable funeral and burial expenses.

A workers’ compensation settlement in California will not pay you for your pain and suffering, mental anguish, post-traumatic stress disorder, psychological trauma, or loss of consortium damages. You cannot recover for any noneconomic damages with a workers’ compensation claim. If you wish to pursue an award for noneconomic losses such as pain and suffering, you will need to file a personal injury lawsuit instead of settling for workers’ compensation.

What You Could Receive With a Personal Injury Claim

Accepting a workers’ compensation settlement automatically bars you from filing a lawsuit against your employer. You must be absolutely certain this is the route you want to take before saying yes to a settlement agreement. Working with a lawyer can help you explore all your options, and take the one that will result in the greatest compensation for you and your family. If you accept a settlement, you forfeit the right to file a lawsuit against your employer for negligence. You do not, however, lose the right to file a personal injury lawsuit against a third party.

If someone other than your employer caused your injuries, such as a coworker, property owner, or product manufacturer, you will retain the right to file a personal injury claim even after accepting workers’ compensation. A personal injury lawsuit against a negligent party could result in payment for your medical bills, disability costs, 100% lost wages, and noneconomic damages – including pain and suffering. You could pursue both types of compensation simultaneously with help from a lawyer.

If you believe your employer is at fault for your injuries, do not accept a workers’ comp settlement until you have spoken to an attorney. A lawsuit against your employer may yield better financial benefits than a workers’ compensation claim could. If you have severe, life-changing injuries that will cause permanent disabilities, a personal injury lawsuit will typically yield higher compensation for your damages. A lawyer can evaluate both options and let you know which he or she thinks is in your best interests.

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What to Do After a Truck Accident in Orange County

A trucking accident may have left you with serious or debilitating personal injuries. In Orange County, you have the right to review your legal options with an attorney, often free of charge during an initial consultation. During this meeting, your Orange County personal injury lawyer will explain the next steps to take. You and your lawyer will need to determine the most appropriate course of action to obtain fair compensation for your damages if a negligent party caused your wreck.

Taking the right steps after your crash can strengthen your case.

Call 911 and Report the Crash

California law requires those involved in an auto accident to call 911 and report the accident if it caused personal injuries (even minor ones), death, or property damage exceeding $1,000. Most trucking accidents meet this threshold, as the size and weight of a commercial truck striking a passenger vehicle can obliterate the latter. Most vehicles sustain much more than $1,000 in damages, on top of its passengers suffering major injuries.

Calling 911 creates an official record that the crash happened, and sends police officers to the scene to investigate and gather evidence. Give police officers your side of the story when they arrive. Do not admit fault or appear apologetic about the accident. Be honest with the police officers, but stick to the facts. Do not speculate about who or what caused the crash unless you know for sure.

Gather Information While at the Scene

If you are able, start building your case from the scene of the accident. You or a trusted friend or family member should get the name of the truck driver and trucking company, the trucker’s insurance company, the license plate number, and the names and contact information of any eyewitnesses. Photos and videos of the scene, property damage, and personal injuries are also helpful to build your case. Get your police report number as well.

Seek Medical Care for Your Injuries

Request an ambulance during your initial 911 call if you or someone else at the scene has any personal injuries. If you do not believe you need an ambulance, at least visit a doctor or emergency room soon after your trucking accident. Prompt medical care can find and treat any injuries you may not know you have, such as internal organ damage or a brain injury. It can also show an insurance company that you took care of your injuries right away.

Contact Insurance Companies

California is a fault-based insurance state. You will call the at-fault party’s insurance company to file your claim. You should also call your own insurance company, as it will want to know about any accidents involving your vehicle. When speaking to the other side’s insurance company, state the facts but do not admit fault. Only answer the questions asked – do not go into more detail than necessary. Keep the conversation to a minimum. The claims adjuster will be looking for ways to minimize your payout.

Contact a Truck Accident Lawyer

Trucking companies have substantial resources to fight accident claims. Their insurance companies and legal teams will do everything they can to avoid liability and escape paying you for your damages. Hiring a lawyer of your own to represent you in the aftermath of a truck accident can level the playing field, and prevent others from taking advantage of you during the claims process.

Contact an Orange County truck accident lawyer as soon as you can after a truck accident in Orange County. Your lawyer can preserve important evidence, such as the truck’s black box, and begin planning your case against the correct defendant. Your lawyer can also take over insurance company conversations and settlement negotiations, fighting for a higher amount than you likely could receive alone. Hiring an attorney to handle your truck accident claim can allow you time to focus on healing.

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